Innovative Insulation Inc.
As the world’s largest manufacturer of radiant barrier products, Dan Russell, founder and president of Innovative Insulation Inc. (Innovative Insulation), says there’s no magic behind the simple technology that launched the Texas-based manufacturer. However, the results are magical and the energy saving payback is spectacular.
Through a product that’s low cost to install but delivers a high payback, Innovative Insulation has grown steadily through the recession, climbing the ladder as one of the nation’s oldest and most successful alternative insulation companies.
“For many years, builders have been taught that thicker and bigger insulation is better, but our radiant barrier products are quite the opposite, yet they reflect 95 percent of radiant heat,” explains Russell. “This essentially stops heat transfer, whereas traditional insulation just slows it down.”
Changing the way the world insulates
Russell set out to change the way the world insulates in 1987, with an out-of-this-world solution. For a solution to better temperature control, Russell turned to astronauts and the reflective technology used by NASA to produce space suits.
“I saw how the suits shiny, reflective material kept the astronauts warm and cool,” he says. “If they were made with traditional insulation they would have been multiple feet thick and they wouldn’t have been able to move. I thought if the reflective material worked out in space, it ought to work in the house.”
The company originated in Arlington, Texas, where it remains today, by first marketing one type of reflective insulation to homeowners in the Fort Worth market. Within the first year, distributors were established throughout the country and the company ended its first year of sales with more than a half a million dollars.
Over the next few years, Innovative Insulation expanded its product line to include several grades of reflective insulation, as well as reflective bubble insulation. The company’s trademark product, Super R, became synonymous with reflective insulation.
No matter the season, more comfort and savings
As the first product developed by Innovative Insulation, Super R is now known as Super R Diamond radiant barrier. The product is a two sided, reflective aluminized polyester film with reinforced scrim inside, designed to reflect radiant heat no matter the season, summer or winter.
Super R Diamond is a perfect retrofit solution, as it can be stapled to the undersides of the roof rafters in an existing attic or laid directly over mass insulation for a noticeable increase in energy savings and comfort.
“The technology, is in fact, quite simple,” shares Russell. “It works like a thermos bottle. In the winter, it will keep the heat in, reflecting 95 percent of radiant heat and in the summer it will keep the attic itself 25 degrees cooler. When the above space is cooler, the AC doesn’t have to work as hard in the living space. It’s basically reflecting up and out in the summer and down and back in the winter, so it works in all climates.”
It’s no shock that Innovative Insulation’s radiant barrier products have taken off, from the residential market where homeowners looking to cut energy costs to packaging and the transportation industries. “Generally speaking, the payback is in less than a year and the upfront costs are not astronomical,” adds Russell.
Prepare for lift off
Today, Russell says radiant barrier products are becoming the industry standard and studies by the Department of Energy have shown radiant barrier to be among the best energy saving products in the industry. “It’s been an accepting product for decades, but it’s just now being integrated into building codes as well as distribution channels throughout the U.S.,” says Russell. “We’re now in some big-box stores, which is huge.”
Russell adds that more than half of the top 10 builders in the U.S. have adopted Innovative Insulation’s radiant barrier technology. “Our product is now primarily sold as a retrofit application, but many of the biggest names in new construction are using the OSB board with the radiant barrier -that’s a 95 percent heat reflection and 33 percent improved cooling,” he notes.
While Innovative Insulation has been around for more than a quarter century, Russell says right now, the sky’s the limit for the established company. “We now sell 100 million feet each year of the product,” he reveals. “The industry is growing and becoming more competitive as energy costs rise, but we’ve been doing this for 27 years. We’re the largest manufacturer and we have the most experience, backed by good quality products and customer service. When people discover us, they stick with us.”
Russell says the reaction to radiant barrier products has been phenomenal, especially at annual conventions such as Greenbuild Conference and Expo, which the company will attend again in 2014. “The reception has truly been phenomenal, but it’s because we’re offering a low cost product with high paying results.”
For more than 27 years, Innovative Insulation Inc. has delivered a world of energy savings, foiling the effects of heat and cold through radiant barrier solutions.
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